Here’s a bunch of things to see and do to pass the time in the merriest month of winter.
Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park @ Until 2 January 2017
Returning for its 10th year, head down to this annual, family-friendly event in Hyde Park. With a huge Christmas market, a stunning ice kingdom, big-top shows, an ice rink and a host of Christmas-themed activities and fun, you’re sure to feel festive in good time. New for this year is The Munich Looping, the world’s largest transportable roller coaster.
Christmas in Leicester Square @ Until 8 January 2017
See one of London’s most famous squares transformed for the festive season as part of Christmas in Leicester Square. New for 2016, the festival features a traditional Christmas market, Santa’s grotto for families and a Belgian spiegeltent, where world-renowned theatre group La Soiree will be presenting a dazzling line-up of old favourites and hot new acts. Shop for gifts at the Christmas market, where you’ll find crafters, artists and festive foodie treats.
Winter Pop-Up Market @ Royal Victoria Docks, Western Gateway, until 24 December 2016
The much-loved Royal Docks street food market returns to Royal Victoria Dock, featuring food stalls piled high with festive food and drinks. While taking in the sight of East London at Christmas time, pick up some gifts and treats for your closest family and friends, and enjoy the international, festive feel.
Winter Festival, Southbank Centre @ Until 25 January 2017
The Southbank Centre will be transformed into a magical Christmas landscape this winter, with a bustling market, twinkling lights and a host of seasonal events. The festival offers a packed programme of free and ticketed events for all ages – from world-class theatrical performances and festive concerts, to social dances, community choirs and activities.
The View from The Shard @ Until December 31 2016
The tallest building in Western Europe has unveiled a programme of Christmas wonder, from carol singing to champagne and even a cinematic classic. The open-air Skydeck on Level 72 will also be transformed into a serene winter hideaway. You can experience 360-degree views for up to 40 miles, with winter plants, pine trees and twinkling lights. Warm-up with a drink from the ‘design your own’ hot chocolate bar or enjoy a glass of champagne and Christmas carols on Level 69.
Festive Afternoon Tea at Lancaster London @ Lancaster London, until 26 December 2016
The hotel has devised a special afternoon tea, full of the favourites such as fresh scones, homemade strawberry jam and Cornish clotted cream, perfect after a long day of Christmas shopping. Expect savoury staples and sweet treats, such as champagne covered lollipops and snow-covered marshmallows, alongside a number of fresh-leaf teas. On selected dates throughout December, the Lancaster will also be running Christmas carol afternoon tea sessions with a glass of champagne to serenade guests.
One Festive Season @ One Aldwych, until 31 December 2016
This Christmas at One Aldwych has something for everyone. From a festive classics cocktail collection, a special afternoon tea inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, festive film and fizz movie and dinner screenings, and a champagne Christmas tree in the Lobby Bar. There is also a special lunch and evening menu available on Christmas Day at the Indigo restaurant.
Festive Afternoon Tea at Jumeirah Carlton Tower @ Jumeirah Carlton Tower, until 31 December 2016
Relax in the Chinoiserie Lounge with entertainment from the hotel’s resident harpist and enjoy a special Christmas afternoon tea daily between 3-6pm. Featuring seasonal savouries, scones and pastries, the menu is also complete with unique treats, such as a white chocolate and cinnamon Santa’s hat, a coconut financier and meringue snowman, and the Glitter and Gold – a glazed mandarin tart with blood orange curd.
Festive Asprey Afternoon Tea @ The Langham, until 2 January 2017
Inspired by Asprey’s signature brand colours of lilac and white, the Festive Asprey Afternoon Tea collection allows guests to indulge in the perfect Christmas treat from within the surroundings of the sumptuous Palm Court, prepared by Executive Pastry Chef Cherish Finden, and team. As a pre-dessert, guests will sample a festive eggnog, flavoured with cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and vanilla and topped with rum jelly. Expect mini gingerbread houses, Rudolf macaroons, warm scones and savoury sandwich treats.
The Dorchester’s Gingerbread Hotel and Sweet Emporium @ The Dorchester, Until 5 January 2017
This iconic British hotel has been transformed into a gingerbread replica of itself. A creation dreamt up by the hotel’s executive chef Henry Brosi, the Gingerbread Hotel measures approximately 180cm in length, 150cm in height, and 95cm in width. It weighs in at 150kg and features over 8,000 individual pieces of gingerbread baked by the hotel pastry team. The model of the front of the hotel is almost identical to the frontage of the world-famous building. Children visiting the hotel during December will be swept into a magical experience at the Sweet Emporium by ‘Sweets in the City’ tucked inside a festive nook in the lobby.
Dreaming of a Pink Christmas @ The Savoy, until 6 January 2017
This Christmas, The Savoy will be transformed into a frozen fantasia, featuring a magnificent 15ft Boodles-inspired Christmas tree and, for the first time in the hotel’s history, an indoor ice rink and cascading bauble installation. The spectacular showcase will feature sparkling ice and diamond decorations, with Boodles’ signature pink and Louis Roederer champagne festive offerings.
Gingerbread Cabin @ York & Albany, until 28 February 2017
York & Albany has transformed its townhouse courtyard into a winter wonderland with a Gingerbread Cabin pop-up and specially created gingerbread inspired canapés, afternoon tea and cocktail menus. The cabin, available for private hire for groups of up to twelve guests, has been elegantly styled with festive wreaths, candles, chrome lanterns, luxurious throws and cushions to offer guests a cosy retreat this winter.
Forest Restaurant & Bar @ Selfridges, until March 2017
Selfridges and restaurateur Des McDonald have collaborated for a sixth season on the iconic rooftop restaurant and have transformed the space into a golden, winter forest for shoppers and party goers in the festive spirit. The winter menu brings an abundance of fresh ingredients, celebrating the finest British produce and DJ’s bring the party to life from Thursday through to Sunday.
Christmas at Kew @ Kew Gardens, until 2 January 2017
The popular after-dark Christmas event returns for a fourth year, with a new mile-long trail through the famous botanic gardens, lit up with more than 60,000 lights. Pass through the sparkling tunnel of dancing lights and sing along to classic Christmas tunes with the karaoke jukebox, before ending your journey with the spectacular light, music and water display in front of the iconic Palm House.
Christmas Past @ Geffrye Museum, until 8 January 2017
Each year, authentic festive decorations, lighting, music and greenery transform the Museum’s period living rooms, giving visitors an insight into how Christmas has been celebrated from 1600 to the present day. The exhibition brings to life the origins and meanings of the vibrant traditions of Christmas past, from feasting and dancing to playing parlour games, decorating the tree, hanging up stockings, and sending cards. There will also be a full programme of events including craft fairs, festive evenings, carol singing and decoration workshops. Throughout the show, festive food and drinks will be on offer in the café and the shop will be stocked full of Christmas gifts.
Hogwarts in the Snow @ Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, until 29 January 2017
Returning by popular demand, Harry Potter fans are invited to celebrate and experience Christmas at Hogwarts, as the Studio Tour undergoes a magical makeover. Learn how the film-makers created fire, ice and snow that never melts, and see the films series’ most iconic sets decorated with a blanket of filmmaking snow and original props.
Tower of London Ice Rink, Until 3 January 2017
Skate in the grounds of London’s most dramatic landmarks, and soak up the historic atmosphere at this exclusive outdoor ice-rink. For the very first time, in the heart of this world-class landmark there will be the immersive pop up Eis Haus Ice Experience. Step into the glistening bar made completely from ice, and be served from a glass made of real ice, while keeping warm in a luxury insulated coat.
Natural History Museum Ice Rink, Until 8 January 2017
Set against the backdrop of the Waterhouse building, the Ice Rink at the Natural History Museum is one of the most magical places to be this winter. Experience the thrill of skating surrounded by fairy lights nestled in frost-covered trees, with the smell of mulled wine and toasted marshmallows in the air.
Skate at Somerset House, Until 8 January 2017
Make the most of the wintry weather as one of London’s most beautiful outdoor ice rinks returns for Skate at Somerset House. In partnership with Fortnum & Mason, this icy experience is open all day and well into the evening, when the rink comes alive with special club nights featuring top DJs. You can enhance your experience with ‘Skate Extras’, which range from champagne and truffles to cream tea in Fortnum’s Lodge. Cocktails and fondue can also be savoured. On Tuesdays, you can enjoy late-night browsing in the pop-up Fortnum & Mason store, live entertainment and festive treats.
Skate in the City, Broadgate Ice Rink, until 4 February 2017
Embrace the magic of Christmas in the heart of the City. Broadgate Ice Rink is just a two-minute walk from Liverpool Street Station, in the midst of an impressive array of Christmas decorations, shops, bars and restaurants. With the best street-food traders on rotation for vital skating sustenance, it’s the perfect destination for a day out with friends and family, or a post-work skate with colleagues.
Christmas Fayre in partnership with Crafty Fox Market @ Museum of London Docklands, 8 December 2016
Gather your friends and colleagues for a festive drink and some inspiring shopping after work. The Crafty Fox Night Market will bring a hand-picked selection of 60+ designers to showcase their work in our 200 year old warehouse. There will also be workshops so you can even make your own gifts.
Cutty Sark Christmas Concert @ Cutty Sark, 10 December 2016
Enjoy a festive evening underneath the ship’s gleaming hull with The Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir. Hear many a fine tune from the choir, who beat Bieber last year to become the Christmas Number One, with ‘A Bridge Over You’. Treat yourself to some mulled wine and mince pies, and don’t forget to look up at the mast and admire the spectacular Christmas lights.
The Limehouse Social Christmas Market @ Limehouse Basin, 10 – 11 December 2016
The mission of the Limehouse Social Market is to provide a social environment in which everyone is welcome and visitors are encouraged to shop local. This Christmas, the market will be complete with baileys and hot chocolate, catchy Christmas carols, craft workshops and elves, all with the backdrop of outstanding food, a beautiful waterside location and retail traders. This year, entertainment will be provided by Alan Wolfson and Eggy Pop, and their performance poetry and open mic sessions will bring a creative flare to the market.
Scottish Winter Terrace @ Jumeirah Carlton Tower, until 25 January 2017
Enjoy the finest whiskies this festive season at The Scottish Winter Terrace. The Rib Room heated terrace will be transformed into a space that celebrates Scottish outdoor pursuits and craftsmanship and guests can enjoy live music from the resident band every Friday and Saturday evening. A range of small batch, rare and aged whiskies are on offer, as well as a selection of heart-warming festive cocktails.
Rooftop Winter Cinema @ The Berkeley, until 26 December 2016
This Knightsbridge hotel will transform its rooftop garden into a pine-filled forest cinema this winter. Guests can enjoy festive classics on the big screen, while keeping warm with feather Moncler blankets and hot-water bottles. To complete the festive atmosphere, homemade hot chocolate, mulled wine, mince pies and festive biscuits can be enjoyed, while watching ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ or ‘Santa Clause the Movie’. There will also be four handmade wooden chalet-inspired cabins, so you can comfortably watch the movie high above Knightsbridge and overlooking Hyde Park.